Thursday, October 23, 2014

FLOWER PATH, INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Flower path and arbor, image courtesy of sunsetliving.com
OK, this is total pie in the sky dreaming and wishful thinking.  I don't think our climate would ever let us have something like this but it's pretty nonetheless, right?  Besides, now that Fall is bringing fewer and fewer flowers to all of us, I thought it might be nice for some last blast of color.  This looks like the entrance to some magical, secret garden of some sort.  I think if we ever did have something like this, we'd just get a couple of chairs and sit here right here in the entrance and look at it, LOL.

Be inspired!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

HEIRLOOM CHERRY TOMATOES

Aren't these beautiful?

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
It's an assortment of heirloom cherry tomatoes.  I wish I could say we grew them but alas, we found them at a local market the other day.  But my oh my, they are SO good.  Like a bowl of candy!  Garden candy!  I swear, each one has a different taste.  We have no idea what the varieties are but it sure makes us wish we could grow them next year.  

Sliced Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
We sliced a bunch of them up and just ate them in a simple salad...well, some of them...many were just eaten with a sprinkling of salt!  We still have a few left to use in another dish.  We'll probably knock the rest of those out sometime later this week.  I'll be honest for a few minutes we just stared at them, they were so pretty, glistening like jewels on the plate, almost too pretty to eat...I did say almost, ha.

How do YOU use cherry tomatoes?
Any special dishes?


Monday, October 20, 2014

CREATURE SEARCH 2014

SO.......this weekend was time...time to do what I've put off for the last couple of weeks.  First of all, 2nd Family has been going to the house at least once a day to check the trap we set up in the bathroom.  Much like a fisherman who sets his line and waits, only to find nothing on the other end, same with our trap.  Nothing in it and nothing had eaten the bait.

On the plus side there was no poop and no shredded floor this time around.

There was only one thing left to do.  Go into the attic.


The house doesn't have a standard drop down attic staircase, it's one of the "stand on a rickety ladder and push your head up through the opening" types.  Oh and no light up there either.  So it's really one of those "stand on a rickety ladder and push your head up through the opening and into complete darkness" types.  I've seen those movies...they never end well...


With trepidation, and great bravery (be nice!) I pushed the door open.  I half expected bats to fly out.  Or snakes to drop down.  I hate snakes.  And spiders.  

But I digress...
Armed with the flashlight in one hand, the machete in the other, and my cell phone in my pocket, you know, in case I needed to, um, check my email, I stuck my head into the opening...


OK, so it wasn't that.

So here goes...brace yourself...look away if you are easily frightened...



OMG!!!  
GIANT BLACK SNAKE!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, OK...so it's just an old ventilation duct....


OMG!!!
A GIANT INSECT WITH ANTENNAE!!!!!

Fine...it's a TV antenna "Ma" left behind when she moved...


OMG!!!
IT'S....UM...UM...

So, it turns out there was nothing up there, certainly not of the SyFy Channel variety.  The imagination is indeed a powerful tool.


We did discover that the attic is fairly well insulated, though it could probably stand to be straightened up a bit.  There are actually TWO layers of insulation, that's why this stands up so high.  But the reconnaissance mission was not without some intel...check this out!


I found a hole in the eave of the house that you can't see from the ground!! There was even some nesting material.  Not sure if a bird or what.  
Here it is closeup:

Hole in attic
Any idea what could create a hole like this?

Looks like a router saw was taken to it?  Very odd.  It's a good 6" across...big enough for all manner of creatures to enter and exit.  

I have not sealed it up yet.  We're trying to think what we could do to drive out anything that MIGHT be up there and give it a chance to leave before sealing it up forever.  Also spotted one other small opening that I did seal up.  Side note, a dark attic with no light is actually a great way to find out where the holes are when you look at it in the daylight.  

We left the trap down with fresh bait and we'll give it another week.  If nothing comes in, we'll move it outside the bathroom and leave it in the living room and just make sure nothing is hiding elsewhere. 

SO I guess, this latest installment of "Random Country Creature Encounters" ends with a few answers, still no creature in the trap and the possibility that maybe we've sealed up most everything (other than that one spot in the attic).  


Sunday, October 19, 2014

THIS FIGHTER WEIGHS, VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY

Fighter Weighs 8 Tons, vintage poster image, courtesy of Pennsylvania War Museum
This is a really unusual poster.  They say this is "a fine specimen of American manhood", LOL.  It comes from the Pennsylvania Railroad and the purpose was to remind everyone that if they experience slow service on the railroad, it's because they are busy shipping supplies overseas for the war effort.  Each soldier, while weighing 180 lbs here, needed 8 tons of equipment, supplies, food and ammunition shipped to them overseas.

Hope your weekend is going well, I posted earlier in the day about part of the weekend here, planting some trees.  More updates later when I can get back in front of the computer. 


TEXAS LILACS PLANTED

It was a beautiful blue Texas sky yesterday...hot though...

Blue Texas Sky
...87 degrees (and it's supposed to be Fall?).  The goal was to finish planting the Texas Lilac (Vitex) trees along the driveway.  It was on the list a couple of weekends ago but I just didn't quite get to it with all the other drama that was going on at the house.

Fiat Pickup Truck
As you can see in the photo below, it's a long walk from the house to where I was planting.  Long enough that if I got down there and forgot something, it's a long, HOT round trip walk.  2nd Family said we needed a golf cart.  We think we need a farm pickup (and we're working on that possibility).  So I did the next best thing; I turned Luigi (my car) into the worlds first Fiat pickup truck, ha!  I loaded the back end up with three trees, bags of soil, fertilizer, shovels, the auger (in the front seat) and other items, left the hatchback up and drove down the driveway to the spots where I needed to plant them.  

Planting Texas Vitex
Took a bit of time to plant.  Digging in clay soil is hard and exhausting, especially in the heat.  The holes still have to be dug out by hand to expand the diameter, but the auger makes them deep and starting them much easier.  2nd Family came over (since I was practically at their house) and offered their hose to water them in.  After a couple of hours of work, it was done.

Texas Vitex tree, image courtesy Wikicommons
This is what they should look like in a few years, after they've grown and are in full bloom.  It definitely looks like something that will be worth the wait.  We now have eight of them planted along the side of the driveway.  It should make for a spectacular drive to the house.  We have plans for other plants in between them, including one that has the most amazing scent we've ever encountered, but that will have to come next Spring.  We still have four more to plant elsewhere, but for now, this is one item that we can scratch off the list.

For those wondering, more later on 'critter watch 2014'.

Hope you are having a great weekend!


Friday, October 17, 2014

THRIFT STORE FIND PAINTED JAR

Here's an awesome find!

Recently, while on my lunch break, I decided to stop by a garage sale that I saw as I drove through a neighborhood.  I only found this one item, but it was just too pretty to pass up...


This looks like an old vase/crock of some sort that someone has hand painted...

Painted jar with wildflowers
On one side is a medley of flowers...in fact, it kind of looks to me like the artist/crafter was going for a wildflowers theme.  The background is full of bluebonnets (the state flower of Texas).

Bluebonnet painted jar
And on the other side is a large closeup of a bluebonnet.

Hand painted flower vase
On the last rainy weekend we had at the farm, we found a place for it.  It's now on the end table next to the couch...where we have the colorful afghan that we found at a thrift store a while back.  The hardest part was deciding which side of the little vase to showcase.  I suppose we could turn it around on occasion and have a 'new vase' each time, ha.  The best part is that we are glad we saved someone else's hard work to be enjoyed for more years to come.  

Phew, the weekend is here.  Hope you have big plans.  Ours involve checking the house for pests.  As means of an update, 2nd Family has checked the trap twice a day, every day this week and nothing...hopefully it will stay that way.


CAT COVERING FACE, FELINE FRIDAY

Cat covering face
Brisbane has always liked to sleep with his face covered.  He's either burying it in a pillow or covering it with his arms legs.  We've always thought it's such a cute way to sleep.  Heck, I think I've woken up a few times in the morning with my arm across my face doing the exact same thing.

FINALLY...it's Friday...more later this afternoon/evening.



Thursday, October 16, 2014

AMAZING SQUASH ARBOR, INSPIRATION THURSDAY


Last Thursday, I posted the image of a really neat arbor that had small pumpkins...then I found THIS. How unbelievable is this?  I wish I knew the original source/location.  I just found it on a Pinterest board and the link to it was a dead link.  This almost looks surreal doesn't it?  At first I thought they were those paper lanterns...then I realized they were gourds and squashes of all types and shapes and colors.

Would we have this on the farm?  Um, no, I can say we'd never be able to have anything like this...the ground isn't conducive and more importantly our weather isn't conducive.  But we could possibly do something on a much, much smaller scale.  I'd sure love to see something like this in person, it's almost magical!

Have a great day!

Be Inspired!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

TOMATO AND ONION MIGAS RECIPE

This is sort of an easy variation of a Tex-Mex classic called "Migas".  Traditionally, they are made with tortillas and eggs (and we'll show that one one of these days as well).  This is a version that 2nd Man came up with when were were out of eggs and wanted to make this anyway.  We looked around and what we did have were onions and tomatoes...





1 large onion, sliced
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato sauce
About 3 cups of corn chips
Olive oil, salt and pepper





Sauté the sliced onions in some olive oil, a little salt, and some pepper until translucent. 





Pour the two cans of tomatoes into the onions and stir it all up until heated.




Add the corn chips to the onion tomato mixture.  If they seem too large, it's OK to break them up a bit with your hands.  This is the easy shortcut to this recipe.




Stir it all up and let the chips start to soften.  They should get soft but not mushy, sort of somewhere in between crispy and soggy.




Sprinkle the cheese on top, turn off the heat and gently fold the cheese into the tortilla mixture until it's melted and incorporated throughout.
Tomato and Onion Migas
Once the cheese is melted through, dish up and serve.  We top ours with some chopped avocado and dried chives.  Delicious!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

TURTLE HAS A NAME

OK, enough of the bad/creepy news, here's some good news!

Those who have been around the blog for awhile know that we have a fondness for naming trees.  Click HERE to see about when we named this tree at the corner of the driveway.  It's a mesquite, as a lot of our trees are, that has a graceful curve like a dancer.  We named her "Ginger".

Flash forward to the other day when I saw our TURTLE visitor again!  He was heading back to this area around the tree.  It's also very near where I first saw him so we're thinking this cool, shady spot is his permanent home.


Since all signs point to the turtle being a male, and he's hanging around "Ginger" the mesquite tree...it only seemed natural...


FRED AND GINGER, together again!

Since he seems happy in his spot, we'll leave him alone and hope he stays a long time.  There are certainly not many dangers at the farm, at least that we know of, that could put him in danger.  He's far, far away from the road so that's good.  Heck, I wonder if we could put some water out for him?  Some turtle treats?  Throw a head of lettuce into the bushes?  Ha. 

Do you have any sort of animal that has been hanging around your place for a long time?

Monday, October 13, 2014

WHAT THE HECK

THEY'RE BAAAACK...ARRRRGH!  SO upsetting...  





So this is what we walked into at the farm.  Remember last week?  Just a few nibbles.  This week, the entire edge of the flooring from one side to the other...





And on the other side, same thing, stripped out huge chunks of the vinyl flooring trying to get out. 





We're guessing this is more than a snake and a mouse.  There was also additional large scat (poop) today.  I did some more Googling and there is a chance it's either a roof rat (aka Norwegian rat) or a possum.  Whatever it is is, it has to be something living perhaps in the attic and coming down through the walls behind the water heater or maybe even something hiding/living back up under the bathtub.  One this is for sure, I'm not sticking my face under to check it out.  For brief moment I thought maybe we should just leave the doors open but then my brain cleared and I realized that would just let whatever it is INTO the rest of the house to do who knows what to furniture, beds or other flooring.


SO...we're fighting back!

2nd Family loaned us their live trap, we baited it and set it.  We put it in the bathroom and shut the doors.  They have generously offered to check the house twice a day, every day this week and keep an eye on it for us.

They promised to get a picture if possible, and I was sure to leave them the necessary tools.  Our best zombie wild animal fighting equipment...


...a heavy duty flashlight and a machete!

We've had the inside of the house finished now for almost 2 years and the bathroom doors have been shut when we're not there for all that time.  Some occasional mouse droppings but that's it.  This is a new hurdle for us and it's frustrating to say the least.  If this doesn't work, we'll be calling in the pros.  

It's always something in the country, huh?


Sunday, October 12, 2014

VEGETABLES OF WAR, VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY


Vegetables of War, vintage poster image, courtesy of NYPublicLibrary
This is a really cool poster image.  For those with monitors that make it hard to read the printing on the image, I'll re-quote it here because it's so fascinating.  

"More Health and Strength for a Nation at War is the War Cry of America's Southwest.  In this land of golden sunshine and fertile fields grow tons upon tons of vitamin-rich vegetables.  Many of its fields are producing one, two, three, and even four crops each year -- our Vegetables of War.  To you of the Southwest who are asking more and getting more from your acres than ever before -- thanks, from all of us!  Keep up the good work that means better nutrition for America's fighters and workers."

It was put out by Santa Fe railroad lines, which I would presume hauled a lot of that produce to other parts of the country.  We love the way they talked about the 'vitamin-rich vegetables' and equating it to better nutrition for fighters and workers.  Seems like ad campaigns today don't focus so much on the nutritional benefits of vegetables.

While this posts, we're at the farm, hopefully back in time tonight for a quick update, so check in later.

OFF TO THE FARM TODAY

This picture is from last weekend when it was beautiful and cool.  Today it's still kind of cool after yesterday's rain...

Back yard at the farm
Our fingers are crossed that the bathroom is clear this weekend.  The doors have been shut all week and the opening behind the sink has been sealed up.  We do not want a repeat of the EPIC BATTLE!

The good thing is that today I am going to get time on the Zen Machine (for those new followers, it's my John Deere mower).  It will most likely be the last mowing until next Spring (that seems so far away).

More later when we get back into town.  Unfortunately we can't spend the night since it's Sunday and we have to be at work bright and early Monday morning. However, after last weekend, 2nd Man might not be so keen on spending the night at this time...maybe we'll wait a few weekends until we know for sure we are snake/mouse free.  

Hope your weekend is going well!